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While there is no single panacea to remedy the nation's deepening political divide, one change that could make a dent in the polarization that cripples Congress and adds to the winner-take-all mentality in the General Assembly: redistricting reform. That means prying the drawing of districts away from the politicians who, every 10 years, cynically turn the process into an exercise in constructing "safe" districts for incumbents and shrinking the minority party's turf into insignificance.

The Annapolis Capital reported Sunday that Common Cause Maryland is hoping to join the League of Women Voters and other groups in pushing hard for redistricting reform in the 2015 legislative session. It is going to be a hard slog.

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Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, Common Cause Maryland's executive director, points to reforms enacted elsewhere, including Florida and California. She said the groups have surveyed most of the candidates in this year's races, and that most support redistricting reform.

So will that translate into momentum for the issue in the 2015 General Assembly session? Perhaps, but the leadership made sure that proposals broached in this year's session were quietly smothered in committee. This is one of those issues — term limits is another — that looks better to candidates on the hustings than it does when they are considering what's in their interest as incumbents who would like an easier path to more terms.

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Moreover, there has never been overwhelming public pressure for reform. In 2012, Question 5 on the ballot gave state voters a chance to reject the baldly political line-drawing done by the governor and the legislature — and they didn't use that chance.

The only plausible conclusion is that most voters didn't understand the issue.

We think that if you showed them the congressional districts — including the incredibly meandering and fragmented ones from the last redistricting — they would be receptive to reform. If you told them that districts should be drawn not by politicians, but by nonpartisan committees instructed to keep districts contiguous and, when possible, respect political boundaries and major geographic features, they'd agree.

But prevailing over entrenched interests and changing the way the game has always been played is never easy. Common Cause and the other groups have their work cut out for them.

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